Payton Wilson (© Michael Clark/Scout)

Huge season leads to ACC, Big Ten and SEC offers for 2018 LB Payton Wilson

HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. -- Outside linebacker Payton Wilson is having a tremendous junior campaign and has established himself as one of the premier prospects in North Carolina regardless of class.

To say Hillsborough (N.C.) Orange 2018 outside linebacker Payton Wilson's stock is rising would be an understatement. In the past few weeks, his scholarship list has almost reached double digits. 

DukeMaryland North CarolinaNC StatePenn State and Wake Forest are just a few of the schools that have pulled the trigger, while VirginiaClemson and Wisconsin are also showing interest.

"North Carolina, NC State and Wake Forest are recruiting me hardest, which means a lot," Wilson said.

The latest school to offer was Maryland.

"I like the Big Ten," said the 6-foot-4, 225-pound Wilson. "(Tight ends) coach (Pete) Lembo is recruiting me and used to coach down here at Elon, so he's familiar with the area and we're developing good relationship. He's straightforward and tells me what I do well and where I need to improve, and I really appreciate his honesty.

"I haven't visited yet, but I'm going to get up there during the spring. I'm looking forward to learning more about the academics and seeing the campus, because education is first and most important when it comes to my future."

His most recent visit was NC State for the Boston College game.

"The atmosphere at NC State is always great and they fill the stands," Wilson said. "It was a tough loss, but the fans were great. The coaches treated me great and made me feel like a priority. I'll probably visit again at some point before the end of the year.

"I have a really good relationship with those coaches -- (defensive coordinator) coach (Dave) Huxtable and coach (Dave) Doeren. I like them a lot. Coach Huxtable is recruiting me and he's also straightforward and always gives me advice."

Another school showing significant interest is North Carolina.

"The atmosphere is great, too, and they're on the rise," Wilson said. "They're getting better every year and it's impressive. I like their defense and how they recruit athletic linebackers. I feel like I would well into that scheme.

"I like (quarterbacks) coach (Keith) Heckendorf and (linebackers) coach (John) Papachis. Coach Heckendorf recruited my brother before he got drafted in baseball and I've known him longer than any coach recruiting me. We have a really good relationship."

Wake Forest is pursuing him hard as well.

"I like (linebackers) coach (Chris) Lea and I think he really knows what he's doing," Wilson said. "We have a good relationship and I also have a good relationship with (director of high school relations) coach (Warren) Belin.

"It's a smaller school, so class sizes aren't big and I would get more one-on-one attention, which I really like. I visited for the Syracuse game and was impressed with atmosphere. I also really enjoyed talking with the coaches."

As for upcoming trips, Wilson will head to Duke on Thursday, Virginia on Saturday and Clemson on Nov. 26.

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